FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) Colt Knost shot his third straight 5-under 67 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Hotel Fitness Championship, the first event in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Knost, the 29-year-old former SMU player who won the 2007 U.S. Amateur, had three birdies and eagled the par-5 12th at Sycamore Hills to reach 15 under. He was fourth last week in the Portland Open to finish 34th on the Web.com Tour’s regular- season money list.
Nos. 26-75 on Web.com money list and Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings are fighting for 25 2014-15 PGA Tour cards based on earnings in the four-event series. A victory Sunday would guarantee Knost a PGA Tour card.
”That’s obviously my goal,” said Knost, a two-time winner on the Web.com Tour in 2008. ”We know how big the moment is.”
The top 25 players on the Web.com money list earned PGA Tour cards last week. They are competing against each other for PGA Tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals and the final leader getting a spot in The Players Championship.
Second-round leader Sam Saunders and England’s Greg Owen were a stroke back. Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, had a 70, and Owen shot 68. Saunders finished 45th on the Web.com money list, and Owen was 27th.
”If you ask anyone, they say I don’t have any (patience),” Owen said. ”You got to out here, there’s so many good players, every shot matters.”
PGA Tour players John Peterson and Bud Cauley were 13 under. Peterson had a 64, and Cauley shot 67. Peterson was 179th in the FedEx Cup standings, and Cauley was 143rd.
Knost hit a ”chip” 5-wood from 222 yards to 15 feet to set up the eagle, his second in two days on the 12th hole.
”I hit such a good shot in there,” Knost said. ”To get a three there was really nice.”
He has played 29 consecutive holes without a bogey.
”I grinded well out there,” Knost said. ”I’m obviously happy with where I’m sitting.”